Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s captain Jay DeMerit has been selected for the MLS All-Star team this month. The centre back was voted in by fans online, through Twitter, and text.
DeMerit will join the likes of David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), and Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls) on July 25th at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. The “2012 MLS All-Star First XI” will take on current UEFA Champions League holders Chelsea FC and the match will be the culmination of five days of festivities hosted by the home-field Philadelphia Union.
Last week, Vancouver Whitecaps FC also announced that local Alan Bates has been nominated for the 2012 MLS W.O.R.K.S. Community MVP award. Bates is involved with the Vancouver Street Soccer League and could win a $10,000 to the charity of his choice and a trip to the All-Star game.
Alan Bates is a doctor in residency studying at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where he has one year left until he finishes his doctorate in psychiatry. Bates who has studied the issue of homelessness and mental illness up close knew that something had to be done to help the most vulnerable. He became involved in the Vancouver Street Soccer League to try and provide some help to the most vulnerable population, some of have mental illnesses. The Vancouver Street Soccer League provides these individuals with a voice, while giving the participants an outlet to exercise in a safe and positive environment. The League has also provided its participants with a greater sense of community.
Bates truly got a once in a lifetime experience when he got to travel to Paris, France last year as Head Coach of the Canadian Men’s Street Soccer team for the Homeless World Cup. In Paris he saw first hand the positive impacts that the sport can have on the lives of individuals. “Street soccer is a great form of therapy for many people, as it shows them there are so many positive outlets out there,” noted Bates.
Earlier this season the Southsiders launched a retro scarf fundraising campaign to benefit the Vancouver Street Soccer League. John Knox, a founding member of the Southsiders told me: “The VSSL isn’t just a recreational league for people to kick a ball around – it’s a means of bringing people together to begin building self-esteem, confidence, health and hope. It’s all about empowering people to find their way to a better life.”
Fans can vote online for Alan Bates — vote now and vote often until 2:00pm PT July 13, 2012.